Broadway theatre, commonly called simply Broadway, is theatrical performances presented in one of the 40 professional theaters with 500 or more seats located in the Theater District and Lincoln Center along Broadway, in the Manhattan borough of New York City. Along with London’s West End theaters, Broadway theaters are widely considered to represent the highest level of commercial theatre in the English-speaking world.
The Broadway Theater District is a popular tourist attraction in New York City. For the 2012 – 2013 season, Broadway shows yielded $1.14 billion in grosses, and total attendances reached 11.6 million. All new and continuing productions ran a total of 1430 playing weeks.

Both musicals and stage plays on Broadway often rely on casting well-known performers in leading roles to draw larger audiences or bring in new audience members to the theatre. Actors from movies and television are frequently cast for the revivals of Broadway shows or are used to replace actors leaving a cast. There are still, however, performers who are primarily stage actors, spending most of their time “on the boards”, and appearing in television and in screen roles only secondarily. As Patrick Healy of The New York Times noted,
Broadway once had many homegrown stars who committed to working on a show for a year, as Nathan Lane has for The Addams Family. In 2010, some theater heavyweights like Mr. Lane were not even nominated; instead, several Tony Awards were given for productions that were always intended to be short-timers on Broadway, given that many of their film-star performers had to move on to other commitments.

According to Mark Shenton, “One of the biggest changes to the commercial theatrical landscape—on both sides of the Atlantic—over the past decade or so is that sightings of big star names turning out to do plays has gone up; but the runs they are prepared to commit to has gone down. Time was that a producer would require a minimum commitment from his star of six months, and perhaps a year; now, the 14-week run is the norm.”

The minimum size of the Broadway orchestra is governed by an agreement with the musicians union (Local 802, American Federation of Musicians) and The Broadway League. For example, the agreement specifies the minimum size of the orchestra at the Minskoff Theatre to be 18, at the Music Box Theatre to be 9.

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